Replace a dying SBS 2003 Server?

Posted on 2004-08-29
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2009-01-29
We have a Small Business Server 2003 that is close to crashing.  There is one other 2003 Server (not SBS) with AD in the domain.  I need to install a new server built on different achitecture (64-bit AMD) so imaging is not an option.  

The existing server is flaky in many ways, so the idea is to move Exchange mailboxes via Exmerge, copy users' application data, and just reinstall 3rd party applications like Veritas and SAV.  The key is to do this without disturbing Active Directory.  There are 70 user accounts, and recreating all of them would be ugly.

We have loaded the new server with SBS, and given it the same domain name, etc, but obviously we can't just drop it onto the existing network.

I tried demoting the new server and using netdom computername to rename the old server and join the new one using the old one's original name, but the new one was no longer a Small Business Server - it was more like the mutant monstrosity that emerged from the telepod in the last scenes of "The Fly."  Mercifully, it's been wiped and reloaded.  

Netdom allowed me to return the original SBS 2003 server back to its original name with no apparent ill effects.  It's creaking along, but I can't say for how long.

SO....how can I join a new SBS server to the domain, and remove the old one, without having to create a whole new domain and user accounts, and disjoin/rejoin every workstation?  


Steve Geden
Sarasota, Florida
Question by:sgeden
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 11926974
OK what you want do and what i have done in a few occasions is use the ADMT V2 migration utility. Go ahead and build a fresh clean install of sbs 2003, with all your programs. The computer name and domain must be different. Don't be scared. The utlity works great. It will configure all of your computers for the new domain. you will only run into problems by joining another SBS server to your domain and transferring your roles.
LVL 20

Expert Comment

ID: 11928909
plimpias - SBS won't allow connections to other domains, so ADMT can't make the connection, which stop the user data transfering

Bad news first - You can't join a SBS to any other domains - Ms don't allow it with SBS. So having two SBS servers in the same domain just can't happen as they both want to be THE domain.
Why not simply just do a full file restore and system state restore to the new machine (which is the same as the old one in machine name and admin accounts)? Vertias will let you do that with out blinking.
Then pull the plug on the old one and simply slide the in to place. The users or rest of the network shouldn't notice.

Hope that helps some.

Author Comment

ID: 11929442
The Veritas approach sounds do-able.  I didn't know you could replicate a SBS server that way.  Will give it a shot.  Thanks!
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LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 11931500
sorry What90 but i have done this many times. It will make a connection with the ADMT V2 this is what he needs. Research the tool, thats how you migrate from nt also.
LVL 20

Expert Comment

ID: 11937449
Hi plimpias,

I might be missing something here, but to migrate data from one domain to another you need to make a trust between the two and that's what ADMT 2 requires to my understanding. This link seems to confirm what I believe. http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=326480

If you can give me any links to clarify and prove your statement, I'd be very interested!


LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 11937578
No you don't You don't need trust relationship. Maybe your thinking of admt but with admt V2 you don't need to establish trust. Otherwise i wouldn't be able to do it, because in SBS 2003 you cann't establish trust to any server.
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 11937592
Where in the link does it say you need to establish a trust. Trust me, you don't need it. Ive done many migrations. Ive done nt to 2003, 2000 2003 and sbs 2003 to another sbs 2003. I ve used the tool 8 times already.

Author Comment

ID: 11937828
Plimpias - when the user accounts migrate to the new domain, are they deleted on the old domain?  Same question regarding computer accounts?  And... how do the computers "know" they've been moved?  Is that accomplished by the "agent" referred to in the helpfile?  The basic question is: If something goes wrong during the migration, is the old domain still intact?  I'm embarassed to parade my ignorance like this, but it would be a lot more embarassing if I blow up the client's work environment....
LVL 15

Expert Comment

ID: 11937911
OK ..you have to follow a few steps. Make sure antivirus is disabled on the client computers. What i do is use a batch file and make it run with GPO at startup to disable the antivirus. The user accounts will still be intact. The computer accoutns also. But once you start you kind of can't go back. What you can do is try your computer first, don't do the test because it always causes problems. Just do the migration of the computer object and your user account. Follow the step by step of the document that is migrating from sbs 2000 to sbs 2003. Make sure it is migrate. You will need to do a few steps before you get started. The most important is to disable antivirus. So once you get your computer started..you will hear the agent being installed. then it will count down and restart the computer automatically. The agent basically joins the computer to the new domain for you..but the cool thing is that it keeps the profile. So all your cookies, favorites and desktop settings get moved over also. Try this migration on your computer. Then if all goes well. do the rest. Like i said i have done this several times and never had a problem, and if there was one it was some typo that i missed. follow the guide step by step. the sbs 2000 to sbs 2003 migration will work for you. After your done move exchange using the exchange utility that sbs comes with. Rememmber to manually back up the public folders that you use. Test your computer first. then once you know that it works. do the rest. Ive done 45 computers and 1 failed because it had 50 MB of space on the HD....go figure...

Author Comment

ID: 12101495
OK, guys, we got sidelined by 3 hurricanes, but the job is done now!  20 hours and a lot of hair-pulling, and that was including handholding by Microsoft tech support (I paid 'em their $245, what the heck).

Restoring a system state backup to different hardware is not an option - that kind of backup is just as hardware-sensitive as a raw image.  Maybe I'm missing something here, but MS also said there was no backup/restore method to replace one SBS 2003 server with another when the hardware is not identical.

Migration was just too drastic, and the possibility of having to get hands-on with 75 workstations was just plain scary.  So here's what we did:

Preliminary:  Exmerge all the mailboxes, and export Exchange Public Folders to a .PST on a machine that's not part of the switch operation.  Make notes on shared printers, folder shares, network settings, etc.

1. Install just the 2003 Server portion of the SBS2003 setup (exit install after the OS is on the new machine).
2. Move the Schema Master, Domain Naming Master, RID Master, PDC Emulator, and Infrastructure Master FSMO roles off the SBS server to be replaced, and on to another 2003 DC server in the domain.  See KB article  324801.
3. Demote the old SBS server with DCpromo and remove it from the domain.  Disable Exchange Server services and make it a member of a same-name workgroup if you'll need to copy anything from it after the switch.
4. Remove all references to Exchange Server from AD (See KB article 216498 for help - you'll probably have to play with this part).
5. Join the new 2003 server to the domain, run DCpromo on it.
6. Move the FSMO roles onto the new server.
7. Make sure the new server is the only global catalog server and the only DNS server in the domain.
8. Resume the SBS installation.  You may need to create a new administrator-class user to perform the install.  I don't know why.
9.  Exmerge the mailboxes and public folders back in.  Copy data, set folder permissions, etc.
10.  Done.

Many thanks to everyone who offered solutions.  I'm sure they were all workable if I had a better understanding of this technology.



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